One thing that's certain in this world is change. Everything on this earth will come and go, and along the way each of our lives will change drastically and continuously.
I am a student at Arizona Western College facing graduation. Though I am not military, I have lived in many different states and towns in the southern half of the U.S. I have seen a great deal of change in the short 21 years I have been alive, and I can only imagine how children born in earlier decades must feel.
Not only do we change as we age, but as we go from one place to another we experience completely different worlds, cultures and people. In the process, we become more educated and well rounded.
I used to live in a small town in Texas named Caddo Mills -- very different from the other places I have lived. It was full of people who said "ya'll" and wore 10-gallon hats. There were boots, trucks, rodeos, cowboys, cowgirls and a general love of sweet tea. Unlike Yuma, the weather was humid in the summers. Although it was a larger city, it still had a small-town atmosphere where everyone knew each other. They truly live the phrase "Southern hospitality."
Then, for my middle and high school years, I moved to Hendersonville, a small town in the western mountains of North Carolina. It was the place that I stayed the longest and saw the most change in my fellow students and my family. I watched my friends grow into adults and move on to different colleges. I saw both my mom and my sister meet new men and get married. These things were all emotional changes at the time but for the best in the long run.
Like Texas, North Carolina had a strong dose of Southern hospitality. People did not wear boots or hats as often, but there were many types of people in those mountains. The weather was warm and stormy in the summers, beautiful with changing leaves in the fall, and freezing in the winter.
I also lived in Anaheim, Cal., for about six months, which was one of the biggest changes in my life thus far. It was beautiful weather with so many things around to do, including the wonderful Disneyland. I did notice that people had more of a "cold shoulder" than in Texas or North Carolina. In a big city like that, one has the feeling that everything must always be in motion, and it's hard to adapt to spending an hour in heavy traffic just to get to a job only three miles away.
Surprisingly, Yuma is a blend of all the places I have lived. It has the cowboys, cowgirls, and rodeos as well as the sense of Southern hospitality. It's a mixture of the big-city and small-town atmospheres. The only thing that is completely different about Yuma is the seasons -- hot and hotter. Personally, after living in very cold places, I love being a desert rat.
One of the greatest things about living in Yuma is a cultural experience living right next to the border. I have experienced only a little of the Hispanic food and culture, but I can't imagine not having access to the amazing food or candy when I move again.
I love the changes I have seen and lived, and I wouldn't ask for anything different. I feel more cultured and experienced by seeing parts of the U.S. that I would have never expected to stay in.
Change is good. We should all embrace our past, keep an open mind for the future, and live for now.
Photo by Pam Black